Gavyn Jensen-Schneider played football and baseball while he attended North Branch High School, so he considered playing those sports when he enrolled at Carleton College this past fall.
Instead Jensen-Schneider has found a new sport that has become his favorite: ultimate Frisbee.
“I do play a lot of disc golf at home – there’s a very nice disc golf course at Harder Park,” Jensen-Schneider said. “I do have some ability to ‘throw plastic.’ During the first week of school, I saw an ultimate Frisbee practice, so the next week I showed up at practice.”
Jensen-Schneider adjusted to his new sport quickly – but the adjustment was not easy.
“It was very nerve-wracking, because I didn’t have any cleats and I didn’t know what I was doing,” he admitted. “The Frisbees are shaped differently: the disc golf Frisbee has a smaller diameter than an ultimate Frisbee, and the rims are very different in disc golf while the ultimate Frisbee has a thin rim like a pie tin.”
In ultimate Frisbee, the goal is to catch the Frisbee in the other team’s end zone, not unlike football. But the rules are different from football, and the fast-paced sport has quickly became Jensen-Schneider’s favorite.
What’s more, the freshman has earned an important role for the team called Carleton House of Pancakes, or CHOP.
“Right away I loved the team,” Jensen-Schneider said. “The team is interesting – we’re a bunch of whack-jobs. The sport made me mad at first, because I had to change my disc golf throwing form, and that took some time.
“Playing pass coverage in ultimate is like playing defense in football. I feel I’m pretty good at playing defense because of my football background.”
Jensen-Schneider and CHOP played in the Men’s Division III College Championships held in Norco, California, Dec. 17-19. At that tournament, CHOP posted a 2-1 record in pool play to advance to the knockout stage, where it won its first match before losing in the championship quarterfinals and eventually finishing seventh.
Despite focusing on defense, Jensen-Schneider tied for second on the team in goals at the tournament with three.
“I scored three times off of ‘turns,’ which is when you are able to knock the other team’s pass to the ground,” he said.
Jensen-Schneider said his first experience at the national tournament gave him an even greater appreciation for the sport and for Carleton.
“Carleton had alumni there, because anyone who was eligible for the national tournament in 2019 or 2020 was able to play this year,” said Jensen-Schneider, who noted that the national tournaments those two years were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Plus they put all four divisions at the same complex rather than having the divisions compete at different sites.
“It was a ton of fun to watch all of Carleton’s teams there. It was such a blast.”
Jensen-Schneider said the tournament came at the perfect time during Carleton’s trimester break, which began after Thanksgiving and did not end until this week. That meant Jensen-Schneider got a chance to see teammates and friends for the first time in roughly a month.
“That tournament was a very welcome ‘break from break,’” he said.
Jensen-Schneider said he does not see himself taking a break from playing ultimate Frisbee in the future.
“I need four units of phys ed credits at Carleton, so I’m going to be playing ultimate for four years,” he said. “But I don’t mind – I love the sport.”